School system releases findings on East Hamilton Bible controversy
Mom pulls Jewish daughter out of class after discussing ‘how to torture a Jew’
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Hamilton County School System has released a response to the controversy over a Bible class at East Hamilton High.
A parent said she pulled her daughter out of class because the teacher held a discussion about how to torture a Jew.
The family is Jewish.
The discussion centered on the written name of God, which is not spoken aloud by the Jews.
The mother says her daughter felt uncomfortable with how the discussion evolved into how to torture Jews.
The teacher denies having ever used the expression “how to torture a Jew”.
The school system released this statement following its investigation into the matter.
(They do not discuss any action taken by them against the teacher.)
In its efforts to ensure that all students and staff experience an atmosphere of belonging and support,
Hamilton County Schools launched a rigorous investigation into a parent complaint last week
regarding classroom activities involving the Bible History Elective in East Hamilton
Intermediate school. The investigation was conducted by a lawyer and included several interviews with the
the teacher, the students who were in the class at the time referenced, and the parent who raised the
The investigation determined the following regarding the teacher’s alleged use of the word
“torture” during a lesson on the Hebrew name of God on February 2.
The teacher made reference to the fact that Jews do not speak Hebrew
name of God as it is represented and, in essence, that hearing or saying this word would be a
distressing or difficult experience for them. Some students recalled the discussion during
some don’t. None of the students interviewed believed that the teacher was
explaining to them how to torture a Jewish person or that his comments were rooted in
We cannot conclude that the teacher intended to teach her students
how to “torture” a Jewish person, and none of the students interviewed who remembered the
comment interpreted it negatively. Although it does not appear that the statement was
intended to offend, he did. No student should feel isolated or marginalized in
class following the instructions of a teacher.
Other concerns raised by the parent were also investigated, and a review committee
is trained by the district partner to evaluate course content and reference materials.
Hamilton County Schools is committed to restoring a positive learning experience between
teacher and students. As a district, we will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure that all
students feel accepted and supported while receiving the opportunities and access needed to
thrive in our classrooms, and we will continue to support teachers as they learn and grow in
their profession to achieve this goal